Ross acting IPD chief

Published 10:32 am Friday, February 17, 2017

Johnson goes back to captain

There has been a shuffle in the top ranks of the Ironton Police Department.

Dan Johnson, who has been the chief of police for the past four years, stepped down to captain. Detective Captain Joe Ross is now the acting police chief.

Johnson was sworn in as the Ironton Police chief in April 2013. He’s been with the department for 22 years and before that was an Air Force law enforcement officer for nine years.

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When reached by phone, Johnson said he didn’t want to comment and directed questions to the mayor.

Ironton Mayor Katrina Keith said Johnson gave her a letter stating he wanted to step down and go back to captain and resign as police chief.

“It wasn’t stated in the letter” why Johnson went back to captain, said Keith. “He just gave me a letter saying he was stepping down.”

Keith was required to appoint one of the department’s captains to be interim police chief and chose Ross. She said the decision was based on a review of performance records of all four of the department’s captains.

“So my decision was based on statistics,” she said. “And I felt he would serve as a good interim chief. I am confident that Joe Ross will do an excellent job.”

Ross has been with the Ironton Police Department for 21 years. He began as a patrolman and worked his way up to captain. He has been a detective for four years.

“I’d like to thank the mayor for having faith in me in placing me in this position,” he said. “There were three other people she could have picked from.”

Ross said that as acting chief, he would be actively working traffic enforcement, parking citations, and enforcing the city’s new camper and trailer ordinance.

“Those are the main things I want to do right now,” he said. “And try to improve the morale and work ethic of the police department while I am the acting chief.”

Ross has assigned Johnson to fill his now-vacant position in the detective bureau “so he could help with the transition. He knows stuff about being chief and I know stuff he doesn’t know about the detective bureau. I will still help with some of the major stuff in the detective’s bureau.”

It will be a couple months before someone is chosen as the new chief of police.

The city charter specifies that a chief be chosen from the police department’s captains who have at least two years experience with that rank.

Ross said that the announcement of the test is already posted and all four captains, including him, have signed up to take the test.

The promotion test is administered by the city’s Civil Service Commission. Per Ironton Ordinance 7.03, the examination consists “of thirty percent administrative, thirty percent budgetary, thirty percent department oriented, and ten percent personal interview evaluation, which may include any and all departmental evaluations and other matters.”

Keith said they have already called to get the chief of police promotion exams. After the posting period of 60 days or more is over, the test will be given and the captain who scores highest will be the new chief.